Drivers endanger people crossing Sandy Blvd.

Find out the result of a Crosswalk Safety Education and Enforcement Action at the west end of Parkrose …

An undercover Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer pauses while traversing NE Sandy Boulevard in a marked crosswalk, while the unmindful driver of a Ford Mustang whizzes past, almost running over his toes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Many drivers of motorized vehicles appeared oblivious to the pedestrians crossing, in a marked walkway, at NE Sandy Boulevard and 85th Avenue a few weeks ago.

With clear skies and summer weather, there was little reason for drivers to dodge, zoom past, and merely ignore those crossing this thoroughfare on July 6, as members of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Traffic Division conducted another one of their Crosswalk Safety Education and Enforcement Actions.

PPB Traffic Division officers and Captain Mike Crebs keep their eyes open for motorists who bully or ignore pedestrians.

A motorcycle officer heads out to stop and “educate” the driver of a Mustang convertible that buzzed a pedestrian.

Actions such as these are held “to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and Oregon traffic laws,” remarked Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) spokesman Dylan Rivera.

Sandy Boulevard is one of Portland’s Top 10 designated high-crash corridors, Rivera said. “This location has bus stops on both sides of the street, and is in close proximity to businesses, restaurants, a senior living facility, and The Grotto, which is a destination for 300,000 visitors annually.”

As with past “actions”, this one involved an undercover PPB officer serving as a designated pedestrian, crossing the street, while other officers monitor how others driving, bicycling, and walking adhere to traffic safety laws.

Mere feet away from the undercover officer, this Nissan actually speeds up to “miss” the pedestrian in the crosswalk

… and that driver will soon learn more about crosswalk safety from this Traffic Division officer.

Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk – as well as pedestrians who fail to follow Oregon traffic laws – may be issued a warning or a citation.

“Under Oregon law, every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked,” Rivera pointed out. “Drivers must stop – and stay stopped – for people walking, when the pedestrian is in their lane of travel, or in the adjacent lane.”

While many drivers did stop appropriately, and stayed stopped until the person crossing the street on foot had safely cleared their lanes, quite a few ignored the officers, and other pedestrians using the crosswalk, during the two-hour enforcement action that day.

This Traffic Division officer talks with a woman who racks up multiple violations – including driving with a suspended operator’s license.

In total, the officers issued 33 traffic citations and one warning. Here’s how it broke out:

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian: 28 violations, 1 warning
  • Driving uninsured: 4 violations
  • Driving while suspended: 3 violations
  • Operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device: 2 violations
  • Passing a stopped vehicle at crosswalk: 1 violation
  • Failure to obey a traffic control device: 1 violation
  • No operator’s license: 1 violation
  • Failure to yield to emergency vehicle: 1 violation
  • Failure to renew registration: 1 violation
  • Illegal U-turn: 1 violation

 

One driver racked up multiple violations: She passed a stopped vehicle at the crosswalk, zoomed past the pedestrian so closely his jacket blew in the breeze, while gabbing on her cell phone, and driving while her license was suspended, and without insurance.

Drivers offer many excuses for blowing past pedestrians in crosswalks, but still receive violation citations.

Soon, pedestrians crossing here will have help. “A federal grant, recently approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation, will fund a new rapid flashing beacon at this intersection,” Rivera announced, adding that PBOT hopes for its construction in 2017.

Find out more about PBOT’s safety work and their “Vision Zero” initiative at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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